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Updated: April 13, 2014 00:05 IST

Withdraw explosive license fee, Jayalalithaa asks PM

Special Correspondent
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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Manmohan to immediately withdraw User Fees Notice (Explosives). A file photo: J. Manoharan.
The Hindu Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Manmohan to immediately withdraw User Fees Notice (Explosives). A file photo: J. Manoharan.

In her letter, she referred to the indefinite strike by the industry against certain measures of the Centre and the order, which envisaged a steep increase in rates.

Expressing her support to the fireworks industry on the issue of import of explosives, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to withdraw an order of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry on user fee and ensure that the Customs authorities act effectively to prevent “smuggling of Chinese fireworks.”

In her letter, she referred to the indefinite strike by the industry against certain measures of the Centre and the order, which envisaged a steep increase in rates.

Pointing out that the fireworks industry in the State, employing lakhs of persons, contributed to over 80 per cent of the total fireworks sold in the country, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the inclusion of fees for licensing import of class 7 explosives (which are fireworks) in the ‘User Fee Notice (Explosives)’ issued by the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy in the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry on March 20, 2014, had sparked apprehension that the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, which had not granted any import licence so far, would facilitate easier import of fireworks.

In this context, she recalled a letter from the Union Home Affairs Ministry, highlighting the “danger of smuggled Chinese fireworks” and the need to deal strictly with persons found in possession of such fireworks. “Not only is the government of India not acting sufficiently strongly against smuggling of unsafe and cheap explosives from China, but it is also acting against the interests of domestic manufacturers of fireworks who are mostly in Tamil Nadu, in particular in the drought-prone southern districts of the State,” she stated.

The industry also demanded separate rules to govern fireworks since “Explosives Rules are meant to govern high explosives and are too stringent for fireworks,” she added.

PTI adds:

She charged the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, with steeply increasing the rates for the explosives storage under the “User Fee Notice (Explosives)”.

The explosives storage license fee has been increased 27 times and the fee for renewal of foreman (competency) license hiked by 30 times, she said.

“I strongly urge you to immediately withdraw the User Fees Notice (Explosives) dated March 20, 2014 and also ensure Customs authorities act effectively to prevent smuggling of Chinese fireworks enabling the domestic fireworks industry to operate on a level playing field”, Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

She said the indefinite strike by the fireworks industry in the state has to be urgently and sensitively dealt with. “I am very surprised that the Government of India went ahead with issuing such a sensitive, policy order after the date for the announcement of Parliamentary elections”, she said.

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